Doesn't it seem like Skating With the Stars just started? We're already past the halfway point since the finale is next Tuesday. Sadly, we said goodbye to Vince Neil last week when he ended up in the bottom two with Bethenny. Alas, she's stuck around longer than anyone expected her to and by "anyone," I mean ME.

As some of you may remember, several years ago, Fox aired a little show called Skating With Celebrities. It wasn’t much different from this show, really, although the absence of Johnny Weir and Laurie Ann Gibson means it was a superior show. Really though, the best thing about that show can be summed up in two words: John Zimmerman. Paired with TV personality Jillian Barberie, John provided eye candy for the entire season and I barely got through a recap for all the drooling and fangirly gushing. Honestly, I’m only human.

Lots of other stuff happens in this episode and I’ll try to cover that too, but the only thing I’m really concerned with is the return of John Zimmerman. John showed up this week to help the pairs with their partnering elements. Sadly, there are NO images on the ABC website of John during his visit to the show. They clearly don’t know their viewers.

Before the show even really gets started, it’s obvious than Brandon is out of the competition. When the pairs are introduced at the beginning of the show, Keauna skates out alone for the second week in a row. She stands there looking pouty and annoyed. Clearly, Brandon had more than just a case of food poisoning, but we’ll get the details on that a little later.

The show opens with the five pros performing a routine to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” I say “five pros” because Denis Petukhov isn’t here. We’ll see him later in the show. According to the ABC website, this version of the song is sung by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews. I have no idea who she is, but she sounded a bit like Bjork, only off key.

This week, the teams have to perform two of three required elements. The elements in question are a death spiral, a throw jump and an overhead lift. Obviously, the throw jump is for Jonny and Brooke only, since I don’t think we want to see Rebecca or Bethenny crashing to the ice. As we know, the show brought in John Zimmerman to help the pairs, so we get to drool over see him four separate times during the show.

Brandon and Keauna
This is the segment where they confirm that Brandon will not be continuing in the competition. We see footage of Keauna pouting in the rehearsal space for three days until Brandon finally shows up on Thursday. He looks gaunt and weak, but seems determined to compete. He’s got a stomach virus and has been on bed rest for three days. He vows to be there Monday night and says he wants to make the finals.

Enter John Zimmerman, who shows them the partner elements, which Brandon just can’t pull off. He’s too weak to do the lifts and the spins are throwing him off. On Sunday, they had to cut their rehearsal short. Then Brandon headed off to the doctor for a final diagnosis.

Cue Brandon sitting on a stool next to Keauna and Vernon. He confirms that he won’t be continuing in the competition. Then we see a clip package of Brandon’s journey on the show. Brandon then thanks the fans and Keauna. His exit just gave Bethenny another week on the show.

Bethenny and Ethan
The only good thing about Bethenny’s rehearsal clip package is the few moments of Zimmerman. He so ridiculously hot, it's like he's another species. Otherwise, it’s all about Bethenny complaining. The judges suck, she’s tired all the time, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, we feel your pain. They finish off a trip to NYC with a rehearsal at the ice rink in Central Park. Bethenny then tells us that she could win the whole show.

Bethenny continues her shopping cart impression as she and Ethan skate to ”Superstition.” There’s a lot of dancing while standing still and Ethan carrying her around. It’s honestly not much better than her performance in the first episode.
Dick compares himself to Betty White and then tells Bethenny to bend her knees…then he says she's the Bristol Palin of the competition. Laurie Ann rambles, then seems to give Bethenny props for not falling. Then the judging turns into a drama-fest. Johnny goes off on Bethenny and snipes that, since she doesn’t care what the judges think, then he doesn’t care to watch her perform any more. MEEE-OW.

Scores: (technical/artistic)
Laurie Ann: ( 6/7 )
Johnny: ( 6/6 )
Dick: ( 6/7 )
Total: 38/60

Jonny and Brooke
Last week, Jonny skated over Brooke’s hand and sliced her finger to the bone. I’m wondering if having them do lifts and throw jumps this week is the smartest thing. Since Brooke’s former partner dropped her during a lift, I don’t think even John Zimmerman is going to calm her fears. John says Jonny is great to work with and understands the work ethic required for figure skating. Jonny gushes about John like a fanboy and Brooke tells him to just go ahead and marry him. See, the power of Zimmerman works on straight guys too. In spite of all of John’s guidance, Jonny and Brooke did have a close call with a lift in practice. Hopefully, we won’t be seeing a repeat of that tonight.

Jonny and Brooke skate their routine to “Take On Me,” which is a song I hated in the 80’s and which will now be stuck in my head for at least 3 days. I’ll forge onward….without the mute button. Within a few seconds, it’s clear that Jonny has really been working on his stage presence. While he does well with the lifts and the throw jump, there’s a feeling of danger there, like it could all go wrong in a second. He has a little bobble at the end but, luckily, it’s not when he’s lifting Brooke.

Laurie Ann practically humps Jonny’s leg and tells him she would want him to lift her. She also praises him for listening to the judges critiques and making improvements. Johnny praises Jonny for the lifts, but urges him to get into a dance class to work on his technique. Dick liked the lifts and the throw jump and urges him to keep going.

Laurie Ann: ( 9/9 )
Johnny: ( 9/9 )
Dick: ( 9/9 )
Total: 54/60

Rebecca and Ethan
Rebecca’s still bummed about being knocked down to second place last week by Jonny and she’s going to work hard to get back to the top spot. John Zimmerman makes helps Rebecca a bit and tells her to trust Fred in the lifts. At least that’s what I think he said. I couldn’t quite focus on what he was saying. He looks like a super hero. A super hot super hero. His power would be to render people speechless with his hotness.

Skating to “December '63 (Oh What A Night),” Rebecca and Fred perform a fun and light routine that’s full of lifts. She’s definitely pretty fearless and she holds her positions in the lifts well. There is one lift where she needs to arch her back more, but otherwise, she looks great. She connects better with Fred this time too.

Johnny congratulates them on 3 overhead lifts in one routine, but urges Rebecca not to rely on Fred so much: he wants to imagine her skating on her own. Dick calls the lifts spiffy, but points out the lack of an arched back in the lift. He then compliments her bottom, which was sticking out quite a bit. Laurie Ann also urges Rebecca to arch her back in the lift and to really go for it next week.

Laurie Ann: ( 9/9 )
Johnny: ( 8/9 )
Dick: ( 9/9 )
Total: 53/60

<-----Just because.

Because we didn’t get to see Brandon and Keauna skate their routine this week, Denis Petuchov is back to perform it with Keauna. For the record, the routine contained the overhead lift and the death spiral and, if Brandon was well enough to perform, would have eliminated Bethenny with no problems.

At the end of the night, Jonny is in the lead with 56 points, followed by Rebecca with 53 points and Bethneny in a distant third with 38 points. Due to Brandon’s withdrawal from the competition, there won’t be an elimination this week. That means Bethenny will live to terrorize the ice next week. The votes from last week and this week will be combined with the judges’ scores to determine who goes home on Monday night. Then, Rebecca and Jonny will compete in the finals on Tuesday night.